West

Development and Evaluation of Biologically-Integrated Conservation Tillage Systems for Organic Vegetable Production

A primary goal in developing environmentally sound and profitable farming systems has been to prevent soil degradation and erosion loss, and wherever possible, enhance soil quality through organic matter management. Conventional tillage practices currently used for vegetable production in the Willamette Valley involve from 5-8 passes over the field. For the past four years we have been working with vegetable growers in the Willamette Valley to develop an integrated system of vegetable production using winter annual cover crops and rotary strip- tillage.

Use of Walnut Hulls for Weed Control

Weed control was cited as one of the primary problems for organic growers,

Controlling weeds using propane generated flame and steam treatments in crop and non croplands

The purpose of this study is to examine if thermal treatment of weeds will provide effective control on an established certified organic farm and whether steam treatment of crops and field borders in the spring, summer and fall can reduce annual, biennial and perennial weeds common along the Colorado Front Range. A flame treatment will be compared to a steam treatment efficacy for the control of weeds and insects in alfalfa.

Conservation tillage and cover crop systems for organic processing tomato production (Year 2)

The production of organic processing tomatoes requires large inputs of organic sources of nitrogen. Besides the addition of compost, manure, and other organic amendments, leguminous cover crops, grown during the winter, are important sources of nitrogen for a subsequent tomato crop. Present management of cover crops for tomato production generally requires significant amounts of tillage that may retard the improvement of physical and chemical properties of the soil.

Organic Food Barley: Developing Nutritious and Delicious Varieties for the Pacific Northwest

Researchers from Washington State University have been breeding and selecting hulless food barley types for almost a decade with the goal of releasing high yielding, nutritious barley varieties in this novel market class.  Now in the final stages of this project, they will work to identify the advanced breeding lines most adapted to organic farmers in Washington State and Northern Idaho.  In addition, the researche

Developing "Organic-Ready" Maize Populations with Gametophytic Incompatibility: Year IV

Maize (corn) is an incredibly productive and profitable crop that works well in organic crop rotations in many parts of North America. Since the release of transgenic (GMO) varieties of maize in the mid-1990s it has become increasingly difficult to grow uncontaminated organic maize or to find maize seed that is free of transgene contamination. 
 

Deploying microbes as a seed treatment for protection against soil-borne plant pathogens

Plant diseases, especially those caused by soil-borne seed infecting pathogens, pose a serious threat to the production of both greenhouse and field crops. Conventional farming operations often use fumigants and chemical seed treatments, which can be harmful to human health and the environment, for controlling seed and seedling pathogens.

Create Two Open-Pollinated, Sugary Enhanced Sweet Corn Varieties--Year 4

Very little sweet corn grown commercially today is open pollinated. Farmers who wish to save their own seed have few if any good choices of varieties to grow. And the hybrids of today have been developed for conditions that are different from those found on most organic farms, as they were selected to rely on fungicides and pesticides, and to effectively utilize soluble synthetic fertilizers in large quantities.

Managing indigenous seed-inhabiting microbes for biological control against Fusarium pathogens in corn

Managing indigenous seed-inhabiting microbes for biological control against Fusarium pathogens in corn 
 

Developing testing protocols to assure the quality of fertilizer materials for organic agriculture

The organic industry is on track for a six-fold increase in the next five years, having grown from $6.1 billion in sales in 2000 to $29.2 billion in sales in 2011 (4.2% of total food sales in the U.S that year). Consumer demand continues to drive steady growth of this sector, which is indicated by average growth of 8% per year since 2002.

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